31 TES engineer receives science award

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Berg
  • 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron
In front of the humbling backdrop of the first F-22A and a RQ-4 Global Hawk, Maj. Greg Meyer, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron RQ-4 Operational Test Flight Commander, was recognized for his contribution to the Air Force in science and technology during a ceremony Aug. 3 at the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. 

"These are the men and women who will ensure we remain the world's greatest air and space force throughout the 21st Century," said Gen. Bruce Carlson, Air Force Materiel Command Commander kicking off the ceremony. 

Major Meyer was presented with the Air Force Research and Development Award for his work in developing and testing an innovative imagery processing algorithm. 

"I was delighted (when I was told I won the award)," said Major Meyer, a "Buckeye" graduate from Cincinnati, Ohio. "I was very pleased to see that engineers working at more operational/hands-on bases like Edwards get recognition for the work they do."

The Weighted Adaptive Iterative Statistical Threshold (WAIST) algorithm that the major applied to the RQ-4 imagery takes an image and separates high-intensity target pixels from background or clutter pixels. 

Major Meyer led a test effort that demonstrated the ability to segment every target of military interest in over one thousand test images. In over 1,000 trials, it segmented the targets correctly over 95 percent of the time. 

The major began testing WAIST on Block 10 Global Hawk imagery with the 31st TES at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The WAIST algorithm was given seeker data and competed against humans analyzing same-scene, high-resolution digital images. In every scene, the algorithm extracted a higher percentage of the pixels making up the target than the human analyst, and did so approximately 100 times quicker. 

Major Meyer also worked on the algorithm with senior engineer, Sengvieng Amphay, in 2003 while assigned to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base. 

"He was instrumental in the code development and testing and deserves a lot of credit for this technology," said Major Meyer, an original 53d member who was with the United States Air Force Warfare Center when it transitioned into the 53d Wing in 1995.
The WAIST algorithm, which is up for a patent by the Air Force, has beneficial applications outside of the military as well. 

According to Major Meyer, using mammograms of varying quality, the algorithm highlighted areas of interest aiding doctors in breast cancer detection.